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Topic: Is it OCD? How can I help?

14 posts, 0 answered
  1. Wizard1
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    34 posts
    17 April 2018
    Hi all,

    My partner and I have been living together for 3.5 years now. Over these years, I have noticed that she seems to have anxieties when it comes to the security of our home. She has owned her home for 5 years now and hasn't allowed her friends to visit her there. If I invite my family and friends to our home, she becomes very anxious and is concerned that my guest will break something. If that someone happens to be my 3 year old niece, she starts hating me for inviting her and threats to hit my niece if she breaks anything. When we leave the house, she is always routinely checking the windows, oven and electrical outputs. She stares at the window for 10-20 seconds trying to decide if the window is in the correct position and secure. Quite often she goes back and double or triple checks the windows. When she locks the door, she checks the handle 6 times, and even then walks away a few meters and then goes back and checks again.

    She also very conscience about dust entering our home. For example, she gets really anxious when I need to bring the tool box into our home because of the dust it might bring. We get into an argument about it each time.

    My understanding of her, is that she sees our home as a sanctuary and she fears anyone or anything that would violate that sanctuary. Although I do believe these issues are manageable for now I am concerned that it could get worse particularly if something tragic happens to her life and it will become so bad that she will start seeing me as threat to our home too.

    I would like to know what everyone's opinion is here? Is this OCD? Should I encourage her to seek help or am I worrying too much? If she does have OCD what is the best way I can help her? For example, she wants me to join her when she is checking the windows before we leave each morning. Should I check with her or is this encouraging the wrong behaviour?

    Many thanks in advanced
  2. Quercus
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    17 April 2018 in reply to Wizard1

    Hi Wizard1 and welcome,

    I am very reluctant to attempt to diagnose your partner... For one we are not medical professionals but also because this is a discussion that she needs to be involved in.

    I could say in my opinion she sounds highly anxious and a visit to your GP is a very good idea... However how will this help if she doesn't want help? Or doesn't see it as problem as you do?

    Have you sat her down and had a conversation about...

    whether she feels this behaviour is ok?

    Does it bother her?

    Is she aware how much it bothers you?

    Is she willing to ask for help?

    Is she willing and does she want to change?

    I suppose I say this because I accept my husband has some behaviours that are typical of OCD. However... He is perfectly happy and is not willing to change.

    He compromises on what he is able but we mostly live by his standards. Our home we just sold stunned the new buyers who commented it must have taken me forever to get the house so clean... Nope. It was a quick clean. The house is always that clean.

    What I'm getting at is what will you do if she is not able or willing to change? Have you thought about this?

    I hope you feel able to keep writing.

    Nat

  3. geoff
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    18 April 2018 in reply to Wizard1
    Hello Wizard1, can I please welcome you to the forum.

    I am sorry to say that your partner definitely has OCD and I can say this because I have had OCD and for 58 years.

    Everything you have described absolutely indicates OCD and she is also having 'intrusive thoughts' when you say she starts hating you for inviting your niece and threatens to hit your niece if she breaks anything.

    There is no need for me to mention what she does, it is without any doubt OCD and normally we don't diagnose as we aren't qualified, but in this case I think I can because it relates to me, although I've had it for so long I now hide it when I do it, so no one notices.

    OCD is caused by anxiety and she needs to visit her doctor who may prescribe medication and refer her to a psychologist.

    The best way you can help her is to check on her medication, I wouldn't join her when she does these habits/rituals if you can ignore them and just carry on with whatever you are doing that's the best option.

    I hope you can get back to me.

    Geoff.
    1 person found this helpful
  4. Wizard1
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    18 April 2018 in reply to Quercus

    Hi Quercus,

    Thank you for the warm welcome and responding to my post.

    We've talked about it and she at least believes that her checking each time we leave is a problem but not other things like having visitors. I've discussed with her that she should consult a professional but she insists on trying to handle it herself. She does get upset sometimes when she feels she is not handling it well though .Overall she is happy but it does cause arguments between us from time to time.

    We have been in a relationship for over 9 years but only living together for the last 3 years. So I see her as my partner and I am in for better or worse. She has certainly been there for me as I've been through some tough times myself just recently.

    As like yourself, I mostly live by her standards but I've not allowed my family or friends to visit in order to avoid conflict. This can be rather frustrating for particularly since she is OK with her family visiting.

    Many thanks, Wizard.

    1 person found this helpful
  5. Wizard1
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    18 April 2018 in reply to geoff
    Hi Geoff,


    Thanks for the warm welcome and giving your opinion on this.


    I know that realistically she should seek professional advice but since she is unwilling to see something this forum is my best option for now.


    In regards to intrusive thoughts, I had to look this up to understand She claims she re-checks because she is concerned that she hasn't checked properly and if she doesn't secure the place we will get broken into. As for threatening to hit my niece, this could have been more bark than bite but the reason for it was that she kept thinking that she will breaking something no matter how much I tried to convince her that it would be unlikely.


    Is there anything you recommend that we could read that might help her?


    If she insists that I should help her in her rituals should I refuse? Because she did ask of this of me on Saturday but I resisted because I worry that if I start helping her she will become dependent on me to leave the house. This resulted in an argument. Despite the argument, I believe I made the right choice but it would be nice to get others opinions.


    Many thanks,
    Wizard
     
  6. geoff
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    20 April 2018 in reply to Wizard1
    Hi Wizard1, thanks so much for your reply and I honestly know how this affecting you just as I feel for your partner.

    As much as you would probably like, is to discuss the logic of her OCD, but we know they are excessive and irrational but what you can talk about is that it's quiet common and can be treated and not to be embarrassed or ashamed of it and try not to be judgemental, because that's what may happen if outsiders aren't tolerant.

    I have found a quote from an article on OCD and it says

    'Helping a person with OCD with their rituals, are all behaviour patterns
    that maintain OCD and may create an obstacle to the person’s recovery'.

    So you have made the right decision in not helping her because without any treatment then it's not feasible, the problems will only escalate.

    I understand why she has to re-check locks etc, and her reason will be used if someone else notices her doing this, that's what happens, we always have an excuse.

    As for hitting your niece is an 'intrusive thought' and usually, it never happens even though we say it and it's part of this illness.

    It's great talking to you and will continue but please get back to me.

    Geoff.

    1 person found this helpful
  7. Ann85
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    1 posts
    21 April 2018
    I'm in no way suggesting anything as these issues are complex but have you researched obsessive compulsive personality disorder? I have a family member that has been diagnosed with this. It is a need for perfection and control. In that, the person believes his or her actions are completely rational. They have little to no insight. OCD is more anxiety driven. Just a thought??
  8. Wizard1
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    25 July 2018 in reply to geoff

    Hi Geoff,

    Thank you for responding to my message and providing your advice. I am also sorry for taking so long to respond.

    I read some things on behavioural therapy and suggested we maybe try that and see if that would help. She didn't seem to think it would help. I have avoided helping her with her checks and encouraged her to avoid giving in to her anxieties (as what is suggested by behavioural therapy). I do believe she is improving. I've managed to bring in the toolbox a number of times without her being too concerned about it and I've also forgotten to take my socks off at the door and she didn't get too upset by this. Also her checking has improved on the weekends when we are only leaving for a few hours. Small steps but promising. I do sometimes get a little concerned that she is developing a complex about it. She often says "I'm defective". The only thing I can think to do is reassure her that she is not.

    Overall I don't think she needs medical help to manage but if I do notice it getting worse I will encourage her to seek professional help. I will let you guys know how we go. Happy to her any advice you might have.

    Cheers
    Wizard1

    1 person found this helpful
  9. Wizard1
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    25 July 2018 in reply to Ann85

    Hi Ann85,

    Funny you should mention this. I originally thought it was OCPD but after observing her, talking to her, reading up on both and what Geoff and other here have said, I am more convinced that is it OCP. But since I am not a professional, I am reluctant to be entirely convinced of anything until a professional actually diagnoses her. So thanks for suggesting to possibility to me. I am not entirely ruling it out.

    Thanks
    Dean

  10. geoff
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    7 August 2018 in reply to Wizard1

    Hi Wizard, I'm sorry I haven't replied back to you.

    It's great she seems to be improving but can I just empathise that after having OCD for 58 years I hide all my rituals/habits so no one is able to see them, and doing it this way only means that it doesn't worry anybody else, because years ago I was called all sorts of strange names.

    I'm just worried whether or not she has or may get 'intrusive thoughts', if she does then you can contact us again.

    Try not to keep watching her and what she does, focus on doing what you have to do yourself, you will notice if it becomes a burden for her.

    Best wishes and again sorry I'm late.

    Geoff.

  11. Dorothy1
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    41 posts
    16 August 2018 in reply to Wizard1

    Hello Wizard1

    I am new to this forum and your post is the first I read :)

    I am curious to know how your partner is going?

    I believe I too am suffering from this disorder, I am seeing a Psychologist as I am also suffering from generalised anxiety, I am also a psychology student.

    What you are describing really sounds like OCD and if she is bothered by it she should seek professional advice.

    She definitely looks like she meets the criteria for all the checking she seems to do but does she have intrusive thoughts? Like why is she checking? does she have images of someone breaking in coming in her head?

    I am just like her, checking all the doors and windows, I also check whether the air con is on or off as I m thinking that maybe if there s a problem it could burn the house down, I check the stove, the oven, the heater, the list goes on...

    Having rules helps a lot. For example, she s only allowed to check once, she chooses when, for example only just before going out. She s allowed to check anything she wants but just once, once she s checked then she could say out loud, checked (I know it helps me because if I do then it is sort of conscious, I don't know if that makes sense.

    Anyway, let us know, if you wish of course :)

    Dorothee

  12. Wizard1
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    5 October 2018 in reply to geoff
    Hi Geoff,


    No need to apologize. I have noticed that you respond to quite a number of people on this forum, some in greater need than my own. I think you are champion for sparing your time to so many people and I'm simply grateful of you responding to me.


    I've asked my partner what her thoughts are when she is checking. She stated that after checking she is concerned that she only dreamt that she checked or imagined it and thus checks again to be sure she actually checked. Her concern however is that someone will break in or dust or rain will get in. So on days when it is windy or rainy or when we leave for long periods is when she is most anxious. Does any of this sounds like intrusive thoughts? Other than this, I don't think she really has any intrusive thoughts. At least none that she let's me know about. I've read up on intrusive thoughts and they talk more about violent, obscene and disturbing thoughts. Nothing she describes to me comes across as being extreme as this.


    Thank you for the advice, I will avoiding paying any particular attention to her checking. I was getting concerned that me paying attention to her was upsetting her. Hence the "I'm defective" comments I mentioned in a previous post. Now, I go outside, look at our garden and ponder how to improve it while I wait.


    Many thanks
    Wizard
  13. Wizard1
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    5 October 2018 in reply to Dorothy1
    Hi Dorothee,


    Thank you for writing to my thread, I really appreciate it.


    My partner seems to be doing alright. I haven't seen any improvements lately but at the same time she hasn't gotten worse. I don't think she is as self conscious about it these days. As I stared above she use to say "I'm defective" but she doesn't seem to be doing that as much these days.


    Add for intrusive thoughts, please see my previous post to Geoff. I'd would love to get your perspective on this too.


    I liked your suggestion about setting rules. I suggested checking the last item (the door) once only. Once she mastered that she applies this rule on the second last item. This didn't last long unfortunately and I didn't want to push the point in fear of making her self conscious about it. So I'm not certain it will take with her but I'll try regardless.


    Many thanks
    Wizard
  14. geoff
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    6 October 2018 in reply to Wizard1

    Hi Wizard, nice to hear back from you and I may repeat what I have already said, sorry.

    Intrusive thoughts may not seem to be visible, normally the person suffers in silence and maybe afraid of telling anyone but can happen after a certain amount of time because it begins to worry them, that's what happened with me, I eventually told my ex-wife, who said 'don't be silly' and that's why I kept it to myself, only my psychologist knew, previoiusly my older brother chastised me.

    I have learned to hide all my OCD habits, checking the lock, light switch, the knobs on the stove as I've mentioned above.

    If a person who can’t get over OCD may feel as though it's because they are weak or defective so it makes people hide their illness from friends and family.

    I don't take myself as being weak or defective, I am have an illness that can be treatable for some people.

    If someone goes to check the door lock twice on one or two occasions doesn't mean they have OCD, it's when it becomes an obsession.

    Everyone with OCD has their own reason why they have to check the door lock and if you move house then the previous obsession/habit may stop but replaced by another one.

    I couldn't walk on concrete cracks on the footpath before, now it doesn't worry me, and all of a sudden a thought may come to mind so a new habit/ritual starts but that could be temporary.

    If you tell someone not to check the door lock then the anxiety builds up for.

    Best wishes.

    Geoff.

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